Monday, January 5, 2015

December 29, 2014 ~ Week 45

Hello Family & Friends!

Well, my time in St. Augustine has come to a close.  Half way through the transfer, the Lord has called me another way.  As of 6 hours ago, I am now serving in Arlington with Sister Murray from Logan, Utah!  Don't mind the exercise clothes, we were playing volleyball with a ton of missionaries.  It was so fun!

I don't know what to say other than this past week was the best week ever.  Since we couldn't really drive our car much, we went biking.  Our Christmas morning went somewhat like this.  From being exhausted the night before and forgetting to set my alarm, we woke up at 6:55 just in time to start getting ready.  It was a tender mercy in a way just because we were SO tired.  We opened up gifts sent home to us from our families.  We studied, and then were off to biking.  The family, whom just got baptized yesterday, received a very special gift from us.  Sister Dixon had a scripture carrying case and I had a quad.  The scriptures that my parents gave to me when I was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, I gave to this family.  That is how special they are to me.  They were filled with joy, as my heart was too.  This was my gift to them since they were getting baptized this Sunday.  They love the scriptures and they love feasting upon the words of Christ.  In addition, we continued to bike on talking to as many people as we could on Christmas.  Everyone was so happy and desired to learn more. It was a joyous day.  When the evening came, we went to the members home that we were going to eat dinner and FaceTime our families.  We show up, and the times with everyone got confused, and the dinner was not ready yet.  Even though it was an hour and a half before we were suppose to talk to our parents, I thought, let's just talk to them now.  The member called my dad (I could hear his voice on the other side of the phone which made me cry) and I ended up talking to my family 20 minutes later.  

It all worked out.  My parents gave me the greatest gift that I have ever received on Christmas.  They surprised me with a video recording of Elder McCook wishing me a Merry Christmas.  I screamed and cried so much that my dad had to start the video recording over so I could hear him.  They don't even know this but I was sad that I wouldn't be able to talk to my brother on Christmas, and they gave me this. 

That's the one thing out of many I learned this Christmas as I spent it away from home for the very first time.  The Christlike attribute of giving.  It really isn't all about the monetary gifts, though those are nice and most everyone loves those gifts.  But think about the Savior, He didn't have any money, but He loved.  He healed.  He served.  He taught.  He shared.....etc. that filled and overflowed any cup that was empty. Dinner was Cafe Rio in the home.  Oh it was soooo good.  We ended our Christmas with caroling around the neighborhood with 6 other missionaries.

The family---Wendy, Ron, Aidan, and Micayla were baptized yesterday.  Wow.  Can I just say how beautiful it was.  

It is amazing to see the transformation that has taken place in this family from the day we met them October 8, all the way until this day.  We fought the battle together, Wendy and Ron gave up smoking---Sister Dixon and I gave up sugar.  (Literally there was a pile sitting underneath our Christmas tree, of all of these goodies given to us from our families and our Ward).  They did it. And I was able to witness their faith in the Atonement of Jesus Christ working
mighty miracles in them.  There is no greater joy than helping a family enter into the waters of baptism and I can't wait to take them to the temple in a year. They are amazing, if only you all could meet them today.

If you would like to write me, please use this address :)

8291 Dames Point Crossing Blvd North #2201
Jacksonville, FL 32277

Thank you to all of my home Ward back home, who sent me Christmas
cards and updates of their families. That meant so much to me.

Love, Sister McCook

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